I only wish you could dream.

May God us keep From Single vision & Newtons sleep.
—William Blake
   Science is amazing. Think about it, take a look around, and hopefully you'll see what I mean. Heck, don't take a look around. Stare straight at these words on this screen, and realize how incredible it is that we can control electrons to such a degree we can make them take these words from my screen onto yours. It's something almost laughably absurd, it's absolutely ludicrous, but it's reality, the reality we live in because of the generations of scientists who first messed around with amber and cat fur. We owe our modern standard of life to the generations that sought not just to live in, but also to understand the universe and to the people who wrenched every drop out of our collective knowledge and back into the bucket of tools we have to confront and observe the natural world.

   There is a tendency (which has existed, to some extent, since science first truly came to bat) to see this world, the world that Science has shaped for us, as a place that undervalues humanity, a place where we must either reject and decry Science (but not, of course, our televisions, computers, or modern medications) as "soulless", suffering from Blake's "Single vision", or one where we must sit passively by and wait for mad Science to kill us all.
   I think it's in this kind of pessimistic spirit that people will casually banter about how, for instance, "[In eastern Europe,] if you're smart, they don't teach you how to think, they teach you how to do Physics and Math.", as if the two were unrelated, or even antithetical. It's this mindset that leads individuals to ask, without a trace of irony, "Have we become robotic? ... Is {name of my highschool} just one more place that teaches you to be robotic?". There's this weirdly prevalent idea in the public that Science is an uncreative process, some sort of unskilled labor where you just pick the laws of the universe off some cosmic manufacturing line and package them up for publication in textbooks.
    Part of the problem is outreach. Scientists occasionally have this unspoken assumption that the public will automatically appreciate that their work has practical applications and aesthetic beauty, which (unfortunately) doesn't seem to be true. We need more people like Sagan who are willing to dedicate time to helping the public understand how their field appreciates the world. We need them from more fields than just Astronomy. Where are the biochemists who are capturing the popular imagination? Where are the Mathematicians? Mathematicians, who get an especially short stick in the public eye, need all the public excitement they can get. Science can't treat PR as given, and it's to blame for this part of the discrepancy.
   Nonetheless, there are also cultural problems for science that really aren't its responsibility. Americans can have a hard time accepting the mix of certainty and uncertainty science thrives on. Its not part of our philosophical heritage. To some people, I think, the process of systematically shooting down your own ideas whenever you cannot find reason not to seems like a practice in closed thinking, a way to destroy any source of human wonder at the world. To the layperson, math often seems like what it was for them in school-a blind trudge through dark woods on the way to a robotic hell, glowered over by their own faculty of beasts. In their view, who could stand to devote their life to such a pursuit? How boring and masochistic mathematicians must be!
   If you're one of these people, I'm sincerely asking you to reconsider. Please, don't take my word for it. Read some of the many books written by scientists and mathematicians about their field and it's wonders. I'd suggest Ian Stewart's Letters to a Young Mathematician.

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